HijackThis is an advanced enumerator
(similar in some respects to a registry editor) that is used to display certain areas of the Windows registry where the majority of malware reside. HijackThis will scan these areas of your system and then create a log to help diagnose the presence of undetected malware in known hiding places. However, since HijackThis only scans certain areas of a computer's system/registry
, a log may not
always show all the malware on your system and other investigative tools need to be used. Most of the log entries are required
to run a computer and removing essential ones can potentially cause serious damage
such as loss of Internet connectivity or problems with your operating system which could preventing it from starting. Using HijackThis requires advanced knowledge about the Windows Operating System and relies on trained experts to interpret the log entries
and investigate them in order to determine what needs to be fixed.
Since HijackThis is a powerful tool that requires advanced knowledge about the Operating System and can cause system damage if used incorrectly, only designated trained experts are allowed to help people with using HijackThis. If you do not have advanced knowledge about computers or training in the use of this tool, you should NOT fix anything using HijackThis
without consulting a expert as to what to fix.
With that said, there are tutorials available for advanced users which will help you understand more clearly about the use of HijackThis and what it does.
Information about sidebar.exe /autoRun
O2 entries corresponds to toolbars
(Browser Helper Objects
) in Internet Explorer. If you have removed a BHO the entry in the registry may show as a remnanat in HijackThis but indicate there no longer is a file associated with it. O3 entries corresponds to options located under the Tools menu in Internet Explorer. If you removed such options they too may show as a remnant registry entry in HijackThis but indicate there no longer is a file associated with it. These entries generally can be fixed.
Your description of the many O23 entries indicates that you are using a 64-bit system
Microsoft created a new folder (C:\Windows\SysWOW64) that contains all the 32-bit .dll files required for compatibility which run on top of the 64-bit version of Windows. WOW64
is the x86 emulator
that allows 32-bit Windows-based applications to run on 64-bit Windows but x86 applications are re-directed to the x86 \syswow64 when seeking the x64 \system32. For a more detailed explanation, please refer to Making the Move to x64: File System Redirection
and WOW64 Implementation Details
. Be aware that many of the tools we use for malware removal are designed for 32-bit systems and do not work
or can give misleading results
on 64-bit machines
. For instance, running HijackThis on a 64-bit machine may show log entries which indicate (file missing
) when that is NOT
always the case. Anti-malware scanners and many specialized fix tools have problems enumerating the drivers and services on 64-bit machines so they do not always work properly.